Mitsubishi and later Samsung pioneered with “3D-ready” RP-DLP sets that produce a 3D effect by switching rapidly between left and right images if you’re wearing the proper goggles. But the DLP TVs are costly and require the use of special proprietary content in order to view 3D video. Samsung recently exited the DLP market entirely, according to Patel.
“The talk now is mostly about LCD and plasma,” she says. Pictured here is a 50-inch 3D plasma HDTV introduced by Panasonic in December.
Also this month, LG unveiled plans at a press conference to launch an extensive line-up of LCD 3D TVs during the second half of 2010, according to a Reuters report.
Meanwhile, the BDA announced a single Blu-ray specification for creating 1080p HDTV 3D content that will work across LCD, plasma, and OLED sets.
Right now, details of the Blu-ray specification remain kind of sketchy. It’s still unknown, for example, whether the spec will require use of goggles.
But if goggles will be needed, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, according to Peddie. “Glasses-free screens have been given up by Philips and others because of costs and technical problems,” he says.
“The glasses-free screens use an optical filter to replace the shutter effects of the glasses. As a result, you lose half the resolution of the screen. Also, glasses-free screens have zones – from three to eight depending upon the price of the screen and content.” But goggle-free 3D screens might eventually end up on mobile phones, he acknowledges.
Despite the impending announcement of new 3D TVs from major manufacturers in 2010, Patel predicts that it will take another two to four years for 3D TV to go fully mainstream.
“There are lots of issues still to be sorted out around formats for picture capture, display, goggles, etc.,” she elaborates.
Larger Plasma TVs
Plasma TV makers have long been able to produce big displays, even measuring 100 inches and up. But it’s only now that consumer demand is pushing mass production to sizes of 50 inches and more, according to iSuppli’s Patel.
“In the 40-inch range, plasma no longer has a price performance advantage over LCD TVs. But that advantage still exists in the 50-inch and larger sizes. Panel makers are expanding the availability of panels in this range,” Patel says.
“However, the market is limited to homes which have a dedicated home theatre or larger living area.”
Samsung’s HPR6372 plasma HDTV, currently street-priced at around $3500, measures 63 inches. But earlier this year, Samsung announced a 70-inch panel. A 76-inch plasma panel from LG is also on its way to HDTVs of the future.